The Permanent Portfolio by Harry Browne aims to protect and grow your money in an unpredictable world by diversifying across four fundamental economic conditions.
- 25% Total Stock Market
- 25% Long Term Bonds
- 25% Cash
- 25% Gold
Browne specifically chooses T-bills for the cash portion of the portfolio, and the charts all show the returns according to his recommendation. However, if you read about the Permanent Portfolio it’s pretty common for its followers to choose short term bonds. The charts with short term bonds are pretty similar.
Find country-specific versions and appropriate ETFs using the Performance charts.
The Permanent Portfolio is built on the idea that while the future is unknowable, the economy fluctuates between a few known states — prosperity, recession, inflation, and deflation. While some portfolio managers apply the idea of “risk parity” to balance the volatility risk between assets, Harry Browne believed in using the same idea to balance economic risk. So he chose four assets that he saw as uniquely qualified to respond positively in each of the four economic conditions.
Deflation: long term treasuries
Brown equally weighted the four assets to protect and grow his money no matter what happens in the market. And the resulting portfolio has proven to be one of the most consistent on record with dependable returns, low drawdowns, and high withdrawal rates.
In addition to Browne’s own writings, An excellent modern guide is The Permanent Portfolio: Harry Browne’s Long-Term Investment Strategy by Craig Rowland and J. M. Lawson.
Books about the Permanent Portfolio, and others by Harry Browne
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Insights that mention the Permanent Portfolio
Portfolios with a similar structure or design intent
Golden Butterfly — My own evolution of the Permanent Portfolio tilted towards prosperity
All Seasons Portfolio — A similar investing philosophy built around economic risk parity
7Twelve Portfolio — A portfolio that broadly diversifies across many asset categories
Change the home country to translate the portfolio to local assets, currency, and inflation.